Launch 2024 with an Explosion of Ideas!

By author/illustrator Wendy Fedan, guest blogger


It seems appropriate for the New Year to share some resources with you that have helped me over the past several years to come up with more book ideas and marinate myself to create goals toward my book business. I join many different online communities, programs and workshops to help motivate me as a writer. Writing is such a solitary practice and I often need that extra PUSH from the outside world to motivate me to get my rear end in gear and get another book done! I have found each and every one valuable to help me through the year. I encourage you to check these resources out for yourself and see if any of them seem worthwhile to try out.



STORYSTORM (formerly called Picture Book Idea Month)

This is a blog that runs ONLY through the month of January, so hop on this quickly if you want to try out this free 31-day challenge.

Run by author, Tara Lazar, this challenge has encouraged me to keep a journal of ideas through the month of January. The object of the challenge is to come up with a story idea every day. I’ve gone through the challenge for many years now, and no - I have not always won the challenge, but I don’t let that get me down. Regardless of whether I successfully finished the challenge, I still ended the month of January with more story ideas than I had when I started. It’s interesting what happens when you force yourself to come up with ideas. Most ideas won’t go anywhere, but you are guaranteed at least a handful of ideas with promise.

This challenge is one of my personal favorites. Some pitiful ideas I simply jotted down in order to check that day off, but I would go back to those bad ideas later and find a smidgen of worthiness that would stem off into another book idea. You just never know what a bad idea can possibly morph into.



12X12 CHALLENGE (12 picture books in 12 months)

This is a paid membership challenge so it could be less appealing for you, but if you are gung ho about really making progress this year (or some year), it’s a good challenge to try. It’s very intensive, but if you are truly dedicated I highly recommend doing it. You receive critiques on your work from your peers and you also receive some perks to have your work looked at by actual publishers. I have tried it myself and never actually finished the challenge, but it was worthwhile to learn what this community is all about and I received some valuable feedback on a book I eventually self published.



NANOWRIMO & CAMP NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month)

NaNoWriMo is a month-long free writing challenge which is simply to reach a word count goal within the span of a month. Although this challenge is meant for novel writers, you can set any goal you really want for yourself. The standard NaNoWriMo goal is to write 50K words in a month. Personally I have never gotten better than 40K words, but the way I see it, if it wasn’t for the challenge, that is 40K more words than I would have written if I had NOT tried the challenge. There is an online community forum to find peers to help encourage you along the way, and my personal favorite part of it is the opportunity you’ll find in the forum to swap postcards with as many fellow writers as you want to send encouraging words to by snail mail - and even care packages. There are some months that the postcard swaps are all I really do - and it’s inspirational enough just sending encouraging notes to my fellow writers.

Remember, you can join in on these challenges, but try not to judge yourself too harshly if you poop out halfway through them. Have fun with the challenges and simply let your imagination run free. Even the worst idea can be modeled into something, whether it’s a new character, a different story angle, a location you’ve never thought of before - simply because you pushed yourself to think of another idea in order to meet that challenge.

I wish you a productive new year filled with exciting new story ideas!


Wendy Carrick Fedan is a freelance illustrator working in Amherst, Ohio. She has self published ten books of her own and has designed and illustrated eight books for other self-published authors. Her books have won several awards in recent years including The BookFest Awards, Mom’s Choice Awards, Reader’s Favorite, and Northern Lights Book Award. She has her own publishing label called Create-a-Way Design & Publishing and acts as a Book Shepherd to many other writers looking to self publish. You can find Wendy on her Facebook page, LinkedIn, Instagram, and her website.